Syed Ata Hasnain

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Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM (BAR), VSM (BAR) is a retired Indian Army General Officer. His last assignment in service was as the Military Secretary of the Indian Army. Prior to that, he commanded an Army Corps in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, amongst other appointments.[1]

Early life and Education[edit]

Syed Ata Hasnain is the second son of Major General Syed Mahdi Hasnain, PVSM.[2] He completed his school education at Sherwood College, Nainital and thereafter attended St. Stephen's College, Delhi, India, where he received a B.A. (Honours) degree in History, in 1972. General Hasnain is an alumnus of the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS), Hawaii, USA and the Royal College of Defence Studies, London,[2][3] and has also completed a postgraduate degree in International Studies from King's College, University of London.

Military career[edit]

Syed Ata Hasnain was commissioned into the 4th Battalion, The Garhwal Rifles, from the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, and eventually commanded the same battalion.[2] Hasnain participated in Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka during 1988-90, and took part in counter insurgency operations in Punjab in 1990-91.[4] During the 1990s, then-Colonel Hasnain served with the United Nations in Mozambique, and later, war torn Rwanda. As a Brigadier, he served in Jammu and Kashmir as Commander, 12 Infantry Brigade, on the Line of Control between Pakistan Occupied Jammu & Kashmir and Jammu and Kashmir, near the town of Uri.[5] He later commanded 19 Infantry Division in Baramulla, Jammu and Kashmir, as a Major General, serving under the overall direction of XV Corps. As a Lieutenant General, Hasnain has been posted as General Officer Commanding, XXI Corps, in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. In October, 2010, it was announced that he will be returning to XV Corps in Kashmir, as the General Officer Commanding of that formation.[6] As General Officer Commanding (GOC) of XV Corps, he has held several meetings to redress grievances and concerns of commons citizens, and to bring the Army closer to them [7] He conceived and operationalised the "Hearts Doctrine" which focused on people as the centre of gravity in Kashmir. On 9 June 2012, Lt Gen Hasnain took office as the Military Secretary, at Army Headquarters, New Delhi.[8] His unique and innovative approach defined as "Playing Friend Not God" has been widely appreciated as the new HR management mantra across domains in and outside the military. On 7 Sep 2013 Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain was awarded his first civilian honor by the Capital Foundation Society of Delhi. He received the award from the Vice President of India, Mr Hamid Ansari. The award was for Military leadership of an exceptional order. On 9 Sep 2013 the General Officer spoke at the Global Town Hall organized by the US based Ali Soufan Group and Qatar International Academy for Security Studies. This event was simultaneously held at New York, Singapore, Dakkar and Belfast. Lt Gen Hasnain spoke at Singapore on the subject ' Applying Counter Narratives in Conflict Stabilisation : The Heart is My Weapon Doctrine in Kashmir's Conflict Zone'.

Ever since his superannuation on 30 June 2013 General Hasnain has actively pursued intellectual activities and promoted the cause and perception of the Indian Army. He is a prolific member of Track 2 diplomacy with Pakistan bringing his vast experience of J&K to the meetings. He is a Visiting Fellow of the Vivekanand International Foundation, New Delhi and Senior Fellow with Delhi Policy Group, two of the most prominent think tanks of New Delhi. He writes for The Hindu, The Indian Express and The Tribune on various strategic issues. He lectures at the National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie and National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics (NACEN), Faridabad. besides the College of Air Warfare, Army War College, Defense Services Staff College, various institutions under the All India Management Association and Centre for Land warfare Studies(CLAWS). He has recently lectured at United Services Institution (USI) and Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

Personal life[edit]

Gen. Hasnain is married to Sabiha Hasnain, who is a senior executive with a multinational company. They have two daughters.[4] His elder brother, Raza Hasnain is a retired IAS officer.

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]