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India becomes Associate member of CERN (Relevant for GS Prelims and GS Mains Paper II)

India became an Associate member of CERN with the Indian government completing its internal approval procedures in respect of the agreement it had signed with CERN on November 21, 2016.

Background
On November 21, 2016, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) CERN Director General signed an Agreement to admit India to CERN as an Associate member. But India had to “notify CERN of its final approval for the Agreement to enter into force” and become an Associate member.

Impications of becoming an associate member of CERN
1. India will have full access to all data generated at CERN. As there are many experiments in CERN, there will be plenty of information available. Earlier India could get data only from those experiments where it was participating.
2. As an Associate member, India can participate in all experiments. India can choose the experiments where it wants to participate.
3. Whenever any CERN facilities get upgraded and go through maintenance, it will provide opportunities for Indian industries to participate. 
4. Indian industry will be entitled to bid for CERN contracts, which will allow it to work in areas of advanced technology. So the “Make in India” will get a boost due to CERN, making India more competitive than others.
5. Since Indian scientists will become eligible for staff appointments, it will enhance the participation of young scientists and engineers in operation and maintenance of various CERN projects.
6. As an associate member only, India will not have voting rights at meetings of CERN.

India’s participation in activities of CERN
In 1991, India and CERN signed a Cooperation Agreement, setting priorities for scientific and technical cooperation. India and CERN have signed several other protocols since then. But India’s involvement in CERN began in the 1960s with researchers from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai participating in experiments at CERN. In the 1990s scientists from Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore too got involved in CERN experiment. Researchers from TIFR, Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology and other institutes built components for an accelerator (LEP) and detectors (L3, WA93 and WA89). India was granted Observer status to the CERN Council in 2002.

About CERN
The European Organization for Nuclear Research known as CERN  is a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. Established in 1954, the organization is based in a northwest suburb of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border, and has 22 member states. Israel is the only non-European country granted full membership. Besides India, Turkey, Pakistan, Ukraine are Associate members and Serbia and Cyprus are associate members in the pre-stage to membership.

CERN's main function is to provide the particle accelerators and other infrastructure needed for high-energy physics research – as a result, numerous experiments have been constructed at CERN through international collaborations.
 



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