Sam Pitroda hits back at Ukrainian agency that tied him to Russian propaganda

Ritu Jha-

Former senior Indian government advisor Sam Pitroda has refuted claims made by a Ukrainian government body set up to counter disinformation that named him in a list of “speakers who promote narratives consonant with Russian propaganda.”

Pitroda, who now resides in the United States, told indica over the phone that the Ukrainian report is “stupid, misinformed and could be political.”

An Indian web publication, The Wire, was the first to publish an article based on the Ukrainian agency’s report. The report, prepared by the Center for Countering Disinformation (CCD) is a subsidiary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, established through a presidential decree.

“I am surprised, shocked, puzzled and perplexed by the allegation from a high-level Ukraine government agency,” Pitroda said. The report also names two more Indians – former diplomat P.S. Raghavan and a veteran journalist Saeed Naqvi. The report also names former Democrat Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

“I feel sorry for Ukraine and other intelligence agencies involved in this propaganda,” said Pitroda, now 80. He is a businessman, innovator, policy maker, telecom and IT expert based out of Chicago.

“Why did I give up my American nationality to work for the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and help him build India’s IT and telecom infrastructure in the 1980s,” he added.

He said even then the US intelligence wanted to know why he was working with India. “But I did nothing wrong. I did not steal any technology. It was Gandhian and honest, and I was sincerely trying to help a poor country.”

In a separate written statement, Pitroda said, “I have no desire at 80 to be an agent of any company, country, or leader like (Vladimir) Putin, (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy, (Joe) Biden or (Narendra) Modi. I am committed for the rest of
my remaining life to promoting democracy, freedom, human rights, justice, equality, diversity, inclusion, truth, trust and love. I do not confuse promoting ideas with individuals and principles with personal preferences. I also do not follow ideas and standards based on power.”

According to The Wire, “The list, entitled ‘Speakers promoting narratives consonant with Russian propaganda’, has over 75 entries from all over the world, ranging from US lawmakers and European politicians to Chinese academicians, and appears to have been drawn from the list of actual or proposed speakers at a April 2022 conference organised by the ‘Schiller Institute’, a German think-tank associated with the late US-based political figure Lyndon LaRouche.”

Pitroda responded saying he has been promoting his book ‘Redesign the World – A call to Global Action’ at dozens of forums, universities and events. “Why all of a sudden are people concerned that Sam Pitroda is talking about a new world order?”

He said even the report can be categorized as propaganda.

He stated, “Does the Ukraine agency really know who Sam Pitroda is, what he values, what he stands for, and where he comes from? Do not be in a hurry to label people based on a conference or a comment taken out of context. Do not believe what you want to believe from your narrow perspective for propaganda. We all value our freedom to speak. Respect it. Like millions in this world, I want the Ukraine war to end right now. I do not want to see innocent women and children in Ukraine being killed, frightened, and displaced. No one can justify this. It is not human. I assume that in our hyper-connected world, we have matured to a point we can sort our differences with open, honest, and transparent communication.

Talking to indica, he said, “I did not say Russia is right or Ukraine is wrong. What I am trying to say is this whole design of NATO, UN, IMF, etc, doesn’t work anymore. My message is that in the hyper-connected world, we need to design the world that is collaborative, cooperative, and not command and control.”

He added in the context of condemning Russia, “Anybody who kills innocent people, I condemn. It doesn’t matter what the reason is. At the end of the day, you have to be human first and then worry about nationality. Killing so many innocent women and children for no reason is not human.”