The core issue of Kashmir, Musharraf told Indian media on Monday before wrapping up a three-day visit to the country, would take time as a solution acceptable to India, Pakistan and Kashmiris had to be found. 

Ruling out a military option, he warned, however, that: "Unless we resolve the dispute it can erupt again under a future frame." 

India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in part, but claim it in full and have fought two of their three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 over the Himalayan region. 

"I think all issues that bedevil relations are solvable in a few sittings," the general said. 

"It is only one dispute which will take time and that is the Kashmir dispute, because it needs a lot of attention and lot of wisdom towards arriving at a conclusion." 

Progress

He was upbeat about progress made on issues of dispute with India in his talks at the weekend with Indian leaders. 

India and Pakistan both hold
Kashmir in part but claim it in full

"I think it is more than I expected and you will know that when the joint statement is issued," he said, referring to a document summing up progress the two sides made on Kashmir and other disputed issues scheduled to be released before he departs. 

The general's buoyant mood this time contrasted with his last trip across the border in 2001 for a summit with then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in the northern Indian city of Agra, which collapsed over the issue of Kashmir and he left in a huff. 

Musharraf set the tone for the weekend when he arrived on Saturday bearing what he said was a "message of peace from Pakistan", which he confirmed with a "prayer for peace" at the tomb of Persian Sufi Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti in the Rajasthan city of Ajmer. 

In a joint statement issued later on Monday, both sides agreed to increase business ties and cross-border travel in Kashmir and other parts of the two countries.

The statement was read out by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the presence of Musharraf.

"The peace process is now irreversible," the statement said.