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Pakistan Becomes CERN Member, India Ponders as Sri Lanka Follows

lhcHiggs Boson pioneer CERN or the European Organisation for Nuclear Research has announced that Pakistan has become an Associate Member of CERN with effect from August 1, 2015, leaving India ponder the possibility of joining the Organisation soon.

Pakistan has been swift to ratify the agreement signed in December to join the CERN as a full member after committing to pay millions of dollars in the form of membership fees. Pakistan becomes the first Asian country to be an associate member of the CERN while India and Sri Lanka are considering the option still.

“Pakistan and CERN signed a cooperation agreement in 1994. The signature of several protocols followed this agreement, and Pakistan contributed to building the CMS and ATLAS experiments. Pakistan contributes today to the ALICE and CMS experiments. Pakistan is also involved in accelerator developments, making it an important partner for CERN.”

With the new status as an Associate Member, Pakistan will participate in the governance of CERN, through attending the meetings of the CERN Council and Pakistani scientists will become members of the CERN staff, and to participate in CERN’s training and career-development programmes.

“It will allow Pakistani industry to bid for CERN contracts, thus opening up opportunities for industrial collaboration in areas of advanced technology,” said CERN, which is enticing India to join for quite some time.

Last month, a scientist with India’s science and technology ministry told media at the Bose Institute in Kolkata, “The government has approved India’s associate membership of CERN. But it will take about a year for formalities to be completed. Because now it will be for the CERN council to go through the formalities. That is the normal time.”

Sri Lanka signed a partnership agreement with CERN early this month and other Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia and Mongolia are also signatories to such pacts with CERN. However, Pakistan is a full member and it may two years for India to become a full-fledged member.

Currently, India has an observer status and upon CERN director general Rolf Dieter Heuer’s visit in February, India has reportedly decided to join CERN as a full member, which requires $11 million payment per annum to be an associate member.

Observer status entails merely attending council meetings and receive council documents without taking part in the decision-making procedures of the organisation but an associate member is entitled to attend open and restricted sessions of the organisation.

CERN discovered the Higgs Boson (God’s Particle) at its Large Hadron Collider (LHC) tunnel beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva in 2012 and the facility was shut down for upgradation for two years.

India is also building its own underground Neutrino project in Tamil Nadu which should conduct particle research in two years time from now. Japan is also building similar tunnel, not alone but in collaboration with CERN.

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