What does the "cite" URL attribute do in a blockquote?

In the first Web Design Project example, there is a blockquote. I understand that a blockquote is “a section [within a document] that is quoted from another source”.

It includes a cite attribute, but it doesn’t seem to result in a useable link. Is it there for screen readers? Or is it essentially a comment to others reading code? Obviously I understand it’s the source of the quote, but functionally what is it doing in the code?

Also, just so I have my terminology correct- this cite is an “attribute”, correct?

<blockquote
      cite="http://news.rediff.com/report/2009/sep/14/pm-pays-tribute-to-father-of-green-revolution-borlaug.htm"
    >

While this is an element?:

<cite>-- Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh</cite>

Yep, you got it right, cite is both an element and an attribute.

attr-blockquote-cite

User agents may allow users to follow such citation links, but they are primarily intended for private use (e.g. by server-side scripts collecting statistics about a site’s use of quotations), not for readers.

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