Indian Mars mission blasts off from southern spaceport

India's first mission to Mars blasted off Tuesday with the country aiming to become the only Asian nation to reach the Red Planet with a programme showcasing its low-cost space technology.

"It's lift off," said a commentator on state television as the red-and-black rocket launched on schedule at 02:38pm (0908 GMT) from its launchpad in Sriharikota.