Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday congratulated Raja Parvez Ashraf on his appointment as Pakistan’s new Prime Minister and expressed confidence that the two countries will continue to make progress on bilateral issues during his tenure.

“I am confident that during your term as Prime Minister our two countries will continue to make progress in their bilateral dialogue on all issues and build good neighbourly relations by strengthening their cooperation in all areas for the benefit of the people,” he said in a message to the Pakistan Prime Minister.

Mr. Ashraf, a stalwart of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, was administered the oath of office by President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday night, hours after he was elected as the new Prime Minister by the National Assembly.

The 61-year-old Bhutto family loyalist was pitchforked into the hot seat after the original choice Makhdoom Shahabuddin faced an arrest warrant.

Addressing the National Assembly following his election, Mr. Ashraf promised to keep bettering of ties with India as one of his foreign policy priorities.

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