Singh, who watched the launch of two foreign satellites onboard PSLV-C21 from the mission control centre here, said, "As ISRO's 100th space mission, today's launch is a milestone in our nation's space capabilities."
"The launch of these satellites on board an Indian launch vehicle is testimony to the commercial competitiveness of the Indian space industry and is a tribute to Indian innovation and ingenuity," Singh said.
He warmly congratulated EADS Astrium of France and Osaka Institute of Technology of Japan, whose satellites "SPOT 6" and "PROITERES" were placed in orbit by ISRO's workhorse Polar Launch Satellite Vehicle (PSLV) in a perfect textbook launch.
"India is justly proud of its space scientists, who have overcome immense odds to set up world class facilities and develop advanced technologies", Singh said noting this year marks the 50th anniversary of the country's space programme.
He said questions were sometimes asked about whether a poor country like India could afford a space programme and whether the funds spent on space exploration, albeit modest, could be better utilised elsewhere.
"This misses the point that a nation's state of development is finally a product of its technological prowess. The founding fathers of our space programme faced a similar dilemma, but they persevered in pursuing their vision. When we look at the enormous societal and national benefits that have been generated in diverse fields, there can be no doubt that they were right," he said.
Hailing ISRO, he said it had always been a source of inspiration to the country through its quest for the stars.
"I wish all of you the very best as you continue the journey to push the boundaries of science and technology, and reap its benefits for society and for accelerated social and economic development of our great country," he told the jubilant scientists. Singh shook hands with the scientists soon after the successful mission.