Beaten to Mars post, China praises India's success

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Sep 24, 2014 16:32 IST

India's successful mission to Mars was a matter of pride for Asia and a landmark in the world of space exploration, said China on Wednesday.

China's comments came as its India-based Chinese state media closely followed the final push of the mission, releasing frequent updates through Wednesday.

"We congratulate India on the Mars satellite entering orbit (of the planet) successfully," foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said at a regular press briefing in Beijing when asked to comment on the mission.

China's own Mars probe in 2011 had failed to leave the earth's orbit. "This is the pride of India and the pride of Asia, and a landmark progress in humankind's exploration of outer space. So we congratulate India on that," said Hua.

When asked about the possibility of India and China cooperating in space exploration, Hua said: "China always want to maintain peaceful development of outer space and carry out cooperation in this regard."

"We are willing to work with the world to peacefully develop outer space and make our contribution to sustainable development and long-term peace in outer-space," Hua said.

"At a little over 74 million US dollars, the mission, called Mangalyaan, is said to be the cheapest inter-planetary mission ever to be undertaken," state-run Xinhua said in a report.

The report was carried under the headline: 'India triumphs in maiden Mars mission'.

Last year, a day after India's Mangalyaan was launched--and on the day when China's own lunar probe was launched--one of the country's top space scientists, Li Benzheng, deputy commander-in-chief of China's lunar program, was quoted as saying Chinese scientists were ready to cooperate with other countries including India in the field of space.

"Chinese space scientists are looking forward to cooperation with other countries, including the country's close neighbor India," Li said.

Earlier this year, Chinese space experts ranked the story of India's Mars mission as the fourth-most important space-related news for 2013.

It was preceded by US space agency's Voyager 1's exploration, the manned Russian Soyuz spaceship's voyage and China's own lunar probe, Chang-3.

China has its own advanced space programme and Chinese scientists have forecast that they will be able to put a man on the moon by 2020.

The country has also already launched several manned missions to space.

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