Indian Space Research Agency rose to international prominence this year when its Mars Orbit Mission Mangalyaan successfully entered the Mars orbit in September.
Having earned India a reputed spot in the space research spectrum along with the United States' NASA, Russian Space Research Institute and other European nations, ISRO proved that Indian scientists are capable of outperforming its international counterparts. Now, ISRO is being rewarded for the same, with the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2014.
A statement released by the award jury headed by Vice President Hamid Ansari read: "The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development is awarded to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in recognition of its path-breaking achievement, culminating in the Mars orbiter mission, its significant contribution in strengthening international cooperation in peaceful use of outer space".
Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, which comes with a cash prize of ₹2.5 million and a citation, is one of the most prestigious awards conferred by the Indian government on individuals or organisations in "recognition of creative efforts toward promoting international peace, development and a new international economic order; ensuring that scientific discoveries are used for the larger good of humanity, and enlarging the scope of freedom".
"ISRO has shown how much Indian scientists and talent can be harnessed to international levels, catching up with much more advanced nations in a highly technical and sophisticated field," The Hindu quoted Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust's secretary, Suman Dubey.
In terms of space exploration, ISRO has proven that it is leader among all Asian nations, considering even with well-funded space programs China or Japan have not yet accomplished the Mars mission, which India did in the first attempt and at minimal cost.
"It has shown what true self-reliance is, often working in adverse circumstances... It has demonstrated that in space technology, Indians stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world," Dubey added.
Last year the honour was conferred on Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, for her leadership during the trying financial crisis and her stewardship of German economic growth, Zee News reported.
Other prominent winners of the prestigious award include Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, SEWA founder Ela Bhatt and former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.