“This is the right time for India to be an Associate Member of CERN,” CERN Director General Rolf-Dieter Heur said at the 100th Indian Science Congress.
The associate membership of CERN will not only open the doors of mega science experiments for Indian scientists but also help them participate in training and education programmes held at the laboratory.
It would also allow Indian industry to participate in bids for CERN contracts across various sectors, including in niche areas like developing equipment for crucial experiments.
Indian scientists have submitted a proposal to the government for becoming an Associate Member of CERN which is awaiting budget approval.
To become an associate member (AM), India will have to make an annual contribution of 10 million Swiss Francs to CERN.
As an AM, India will have the right to attend both the open and restricted sessions of the CERN Council as also send representatives to the meetings of the organisation's Finance Committee.
However, India will not have voting rights in the Council but ask for the floor to make statements without having been invited to do so.
India became an 'Observer' at CERN in 2002, a position that literally allows it to observe the proceedings at the Council meetings and speak when invited to do so.
After becoming AM, Indians shall be eligible for appointments as staff members at CERN on contracts of limited duration and as Fellows.
In search of funds and students, CERN too is keen on opening up its door to non-European countries.
As Brazil and Israel may soon become associate members, scientists are hoping for a green signal from the Central government.