Indian media praise 'historic' Mars mission

Image caption,
Reports said a sense of optimism was seen in India after the launch of Mars probe mission

Media feel India has made "a historic leap" into a new space age with the successful launch of its first Mars probe mission.

India's Mars Orbiter Mission, known as Mangalyaan (Mars craft in Hindi), took off at 09:08 GMT from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on the country's east coast on Tuesday, sparking a wave of celebrations in the media.

The Deccan Herald says India could not afford to be left behind in intra-planetary exploration as it "may turn out to be as important in history as the western powers' maritime conquests centuries ago".

"Mangalyaan marks another important step in the country's ambition to reach out to worlds outside the earth after the success of the Chandrayaan mission which took it to the moon in 2008," the paper adds.

For The Hindu, the mission has the capability of inspiring an entire generation of Indians.

"The most important of such benefits could well be to fire the imagination of young minds in this country, getting them to dream about possibilities for tomorrow," the daily says.

Some papers are also praising the project's comparative low budget which stands at $72m (£45m).

"There's no denying the Mangalyaan launch exemplifies a creative blend of Indian scientific ingenuity and frugal engineering," says The Times of India.

However, some media outlets are also highlighting the challenges that lie ahead for the Mangalyaan.

"The successful launch of the country's Mars mission is only part of the country's first inter-planetary venture story. The space odyssey is long and complex," says a report in The Indian Express.

The First Post website says "there has been a fairly strong amount of criticism regarding the technology put in use to create the Mangalyaan hailed as the most inexpensive Mars mission till date".

Some papers say the Indian Space Research Organisation will have to execute its plan with precision because "at least 40 Mars missions and programmes have been launched around the world since 1960 and more than half of which have failed".

MPs arrested

Meanwhile, in domestic news, an MP of the regional Bahujan Samaj Party has been arrested along with his wife in connection with the death of a female domestic worker at their home in Delhi, The Times of India reports.

Police said the worker's body had several injury marks when it was recovered from MP Dhananjay Singh's home on Tuesday evening after he called up the police.

The MP and his wife have denied any role in the death.

Another MP, Bogha Solanki of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, was also arrested in the western state of Gujarat on Tuesday over the 2010 killing of an anti-mining activist, the paper adds.

In foreign news, India and China have begun a 10-day military drill on counter-terrorism for the first time in five years, reports The Hindu.

Nearly 300 soldiers are taking part in the exercises which began near Chengdu in China's south-western province of Sichuan on Tuesday, it adds.

In good news for motorbike lovers, Harley Davidson will start manufacturing two of its models in India from early next year, reports The Indian Express.

The company will build the bikes at its existing assembly plant in the northern state of Haryana and also export the motorcycles to Europe and Southeast Asia, the company president Matthew Levatich says.

Toy train in 'danger'

Meanwhile, the government is worried that the famous "toy train" in Darjeeling may lose its Unesco world heritage site status if its damaged railway tracks are not repaired, The Hindu reports.

Junior Railways Minister Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has urged the West Bengal state to begin renovation work immediately, failing which the service could be declared "endangered" by the UN and that would be "humiliating" for the country, the paper adds.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railways was declared a world heritage site in 1999.

And finally, athletics star Usain Bolt is going to be glued to his television set to watch legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar play his second-last Test match in the eastern city of Calcutta from Wednesday, reports The Indian Express.

"I hope Sachin scores 100 and West Indies win the series," Bolt said.

Tendulkar will play his final and 200th Test match in his home city of Mumbai from 14 November.

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