Sharma's appointment as the IB chief has not been an easy one. There were two other front runners - Ashok Prasad and D P Sinha. However Sharma who is called a master analyst and who knows Jammu and Kashmir like the back of his hand was picked.
While the primary challenge would be internal security there are a lot of other factors that the new chief will have to deal with. He will need to coordinate with the Home Ministry and the NSA and on a priority basis increase the number of spies. The IB falls short of 30 percent in terms of vacancies.
The IB ideally needs to have 26,800 staff but has just 18,800 as of today.
Sharma comes in at a time when there is too much happening in the sub-continent. With the Indian Mujahideen down the country is seeing an increase in the number of foreign outfits such as the ISIS and the Al-Qaeda trying to set foot in India. The problem of home grown terror is gradually drifting away and groups such as the SIMI and the IM are tying up with international outfits to run operations in India.
There is a considerable lot that is happening on the Afghanistan front. The ISI in Pakistan is gearing up and nurturing it's groups to take control in Afghanistan. What the IB chief needs to worry about is the recruitment process on Indian soil that could rise. There is a need for strong coordination with the state intelligence units to stem this rot and this would be a major challenge before the new chief.
Focus on Kerala
It appears that apart from all his credentials the fact that he is a Kerala cadre officer has also worked in his favour. The NSA is extremely particular about Kerala as he considers it to be a hub of activity which has proven harmful to internal security.
Sharma will particularly have a lot of work on this front. Kerala over the years has become a landing point for several terror groups. The politics is extremely volatile which has made it a safe haven for anti socials.
However in the months to come the challenge will increase thanks to the direct link this state has with the Gulf. Cadres from the SIMI and the IM have treated Kerala as a safe haven and often land up in this state after a major strike.
Since Sharma is aware of these issues and has the able guidance of the NSA who is also a Kerala cadre officer, India could hope that changes will be witnessed.