India Mars Orbiter Mission Mangalyaan
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) scientists and engineers watch Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) on screens after India's Mars orbiter was successfully put around the Red Planet's orbit, at their Spacecraft Control Center in the southern Indian city of Bangalore. Reuters

China has congratulated India on successfully inserting the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft Mangalyaan around the orbit of the Red Planet saying the mission was a "pride of Asia".

"We congratulate India on the Mars satellite for entering orbit successfully," said Beijing's foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.

The spokesperson added: "This is the pride of India and the pride of Asia, and is a landmark progress in humankind's exploration of outer space so we congratulate India on that."

Hua added that China would be ready to cooperate with other countries for "peaceful development of outer space".

India, an Asian rival for China in the hotly contested global space race, becomes the first Asian country to successfully put a spacecraft around the Martian orbit and only the fourth in the world to do so after the Soviet Union, the US, and Europe.

The mission, estimated to have cost about $74million, is widely trumpeted as the cheapest Mars mission so far. Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on to quip that the entire programme was less expensive than the Hollywood space-thriller Gravity.

Hailing the Indian space agency Isro, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said shortly after the spacecraft entered the Martian orbit: "India has reached Mars. India is the only country to have succeeded in its first attempt. We have made it a habit of achieving the impossible. Humanity would not have progressed if we had not taken such leaps into the unknown and space is the biggest unknown out there."