Syed Ata Hasnain

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Lieutenant General
Syed Ata Hasnain
Allegiance  India
Service/branch  Indian Army
Rank Lieutenant General of the Indian Army.svg Lieutenant General
Unit The Garhwal Rifles
Commands held XV Corps
XXI Corps
19th Infantry Division
12th Infantry Brigade
4 Garhwal Rifles
Awards Param Vishisht Seva Medal ribbon.svg Param Vishisht Seva Medal
Uttam Yudh Seva Medal ribbon.svg Uttam Yudh Seva Medal
Ati Vishisht Seva Medal ribbon.svg Ati Vishisht Seva Medal
Sena Medal ribbon.svg Sena Medal
Vishisht Seva Medal ribbon.svg Vishisht Seva Medal(Bar)
Spouse(s) Sabiha Hasnain
Website Ata Hasnain

Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM (Bar) is a retired Three-Star General of the Indian Army. 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]

Indian Army
Flag of the Indian Army
New Delhi
History and traditions
Indian military history
British Indian Army
Indian National Army
Equipment of the Indian Army
Chief of Army Staff
Ranks and insignia
Para Special Forces

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, the 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, 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 (GOC), XXI Corps, in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. In October, 2010, it was announced that he will be returning to XV Corps in Kashmir, as the GOC of that formation.[6] As 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. His contribution towards improving the security scenario in Kashmir was the balance he brought between the employment of hard power in counter infiltration and counter terrorist operations and military soft power. Throughout his tenure he applied an intellectual approach towards conflict and even guided the State Government in its approach as its Security Adviser. 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, Mohammad 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 Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi and Senior Fellow with Delhi Policy Group, two of the most prominent think tanks of New Delhi besides being on the Governing Council of Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. He writes for The Times of India , The Indian Express, Swarajya,[9] Fauji India 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, Mhow, Defence Services Staff College and various institutions under the All India Management Association and Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS). He has recently lectured at United Service Institution (USI) and Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

Gen Hasnain introduced the Scholar Warrior concept to the Indian Army and after superannuation has extensively promoted the necessity of incorporating military intellectualism and strategic culture in India. In this regard he is a popular speaker at corporate events. Among the companies that he has addressed include Deloitte, Ashok Leyland, Larsen & Toubro (Design), Amdocs Pune, Atoc and Sanofi Pasteur. His talks have been greatly appreciated because of the passion, patriotic fervor and linkages that he establishes between national security, the common citizen and the corporate world. He has spoken at three chapters of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), Bengaluru, Chennai and Ahmadabad, each on a different subject. He is slated to speak at the Regional Meeting of the Owner's Forum on 11 Mar 2017, a reputed international corporate club of families who own business houses. Gen Hasnain's attraction as a speaker of international repute is his long experience in turbulent zones and ability to handle touchy issues with ease. His vast knowledge of history, politics and international relations allows him to address and explain issues which would need days of individual study to understand and comprehend.

Awards and Decorations[edit]

Param Vishisht Seva Medal
Uttam Yudh Seva Medal
Ati Vishisht Seva Medal
Sena Medal
Vishisht Seva Medal (Bar)
Samanya Seva Medal
Operation Vijay Star
Siachen Glacier Medal
Special Service Medal (Bar)
Operation Vijay Medal
Operation Parakram Medal
Sainya Seva Medal (Bar)
High Altitude Service Medal
Videsh Seva Medal
50th Independence Anniversary Medal
30 Years Long Service Medal
20 Years Long Service Medal
9 Years Long Service Medal
United Nations Medal

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.

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]