A couple of months ago India launched 5 foreign satellites for Canada, Singapore and Germany for a lot of $$. India to launch five foreign satellites on June 30.
This was nothing unusual. Launching big satellites has become very routine for Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). ISRO has built a completely commercial arm that is helping the rest of the world get to space for a fee. There are 35 such foreign satellites launched already and plenty more in the works. International Satellites Launched and India and the satellite launch market.
This market is at the cusp of an explosion. Think of the global market for ships in the 15th century. Once a new world was discovered, the whole shipping industry never looked the same. In the same way, technology is getting closer to building a complete colony in Moon or Mars. Elon Musk is heading there and so are world's richest guys like Jeff Bezos.
How would you convince the world that you are the ones who can be trusted with launching all this? Simple. Take up the most complex challenge and then crush it. Just like how car manufacturers fight it out in F-1. Mars was the most complex mission for anyone other than NASA. So, ISRO took that first & crushed the challenge.
The mission is designed to demonstrate India’s capability to perform deep space communication, navigation, mission planning, and management; and incorporate autonomous features to categorize and handle contingency situations. In all, the mission has already demonstrated India’s ability to perform in deep space; even more so, with orbital insertion of MOM achieved.
India wants to be the Iberians of this new world
In the 15th century, Spain/Portugal was still small & less relevant. But, they built good seafaring ships were the among the first to explore the new world. Before others could realize what they were doing, they were making big bucks from the new world.
India is building the industry of the future. It wants to build highly cheap and effective launch vehicles that are capable of doing really complex stuff for a bargain. If we can plan a mission in under 2 years and get an object to Mars at the first try under $75 million imagine the trust and respect the agency would receive in the scientific community. ISRO is announcing itself to the world. This is especially important when agencies across the world, including the NASA are cutting their space missions.
India could be the global go to point for countries to launch their missions anywhere above our atmosphere. Just as NASA is using the Russian built ISS & Soyuz spacecraft because it is cheap & cost effective, NASA and others in the world could rely on ISRO for part of their mission once India reaches sufficient capability.
The $74 million spent on the Mars Mission is peanuts compared the $200 billion satellite industry, which is itself nothing compared what is in store for the space industry.
I would say Indian government could sell off Indian Airlines and put all that investment into the much, much more efficent ISRO which is actually generating boatload of revenues. Imagine what a few more billion dollars would.