Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain is back in Kashmir, this time as new chancellor of Central University Kashmir (CUK). Hasnain, who served as GOC of 15 Corps (2010-12), will replace founding chancellor and nuclear scientist Srikumar Banerjee.
Hasnain’s Kashmir journey started when, as a Brigadier, when he was posted in Uri town, as Commander, 12 Infantry Brigade, on the Line of Control. He later commanded 19 Infantry Division in Baramulla, as a Major General, serving under the overall direction of 15 Corps. But as a Lieutenant General, Hasnain was posted as General Officer Commanding (GOC), 21 Corps, in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. In 2010, he was back in Kashmir as Badamibagh based GOC of 15 Corps.
Commissioned into the 4th Battalion, The Garhwal Rifles, from the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, Hasnain has been part of various important missions, both in India and outside. In 1988-90, Hasnain participated in Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka. He also took part in counter insurgency operations in Punjab in 1990-91. During 1990s, Hasnain served with the United Nations in Mozambique, and later in war torn Rwanda.
The timing of Hasnain’s appointment as chancellor of CUK, is interesting given the Governor’s rule in Kashmir, after BJP pulled out of its collation with PDP last month. While Hasnain is in Kashmir, a few days back Gopalaswami Parthasarathy replaced J&K governor N N Vohra as Chancellor of Central University Jammu (CUJ). Interestingly both Hasnain and Parthasarathy have strong history and understanding of Kashmir and Pakistan. While Hasnain served in Kashmir, Parthasarathy was high commissioner of India to Pakistan between 1998 and 2000. It was during this tenure that Khandar hijacking took place. Both Hasnain and Parthasarathy are associated with well known strategic think tanks. A highly decorated retired general, Hasnain is also believed to be part of Track 2 diplomacy initiatives on Kashmir with Pakistan. He is also associated with the think tanks Vivekananda International Foundation and Delhi Policy Group.
Hasnain is the second son of Major General Syed Mahdi Hasnain. He completed his school education at Sherwood College, Nainital. In 1972, he did his B A (Honours) in history from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi.
General Hasnain is an alumnus of the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS), Hawaii, USA and the Royal College of Defence Studies, London. He has also completed a postgraduate degree in International Studies from King’s College, University of London.