Eminent scientist and Homi Bhabha Professor Bikash Sinha on Tuesday said India is expected to become an associate member of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, Geneva, by end of this year.

India has been trying for long to get an associate membership at the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, known by its acronym CERN in French, considering increased participation for its scientists in many research programmes.

“In India, everything is tangled in the bureaucratic process. The proposal is with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Hopefully, it will be through in the next six months,” Sinha told reporters here after announcing the inauguration of the Tagore Centre of Natural Sciences and Philosophy.

Sinha added that it is often “difficult” to get everybody’s consent in a democratic country.

Once an associate member, India will be entitled to attend open and restricted sessions of the organisation’s council meetings and have access to CERN’s Finance Committee deliberations. India will have to pay nearly Rs 50 crore (10 million Swiss francs) a year to become the member.

During his visit to the Bose Institute in Kolkata in September last year, Rolf Dieter Heuer, Director-General of CERN, had said it would be important for India to become an associate member considering the country’s active association with CERN. Heuer said CERN receives the highest number of applications for summer internships from India.

Interestingly, Sinha pointed out that it would be “embarrassing” if Pakistan becomes an associate member of CERN before India.