Pakistan's president has asked Washington for help resolving his country's longstanding territorial dispute with India over the Kashmir (search) region.

President Gen. Pervez Musharraf (search) made the request Tuesday at a meeting with visiting U.S. national security adviser Stephen Hadley (search) near the capital, Islamabad (search).

Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from Britain in 1947. However relations have improved since 2004 and the nuclear-armed rivals are now engaged in a peace process.

In the meeting with Hadley, Musharraf asked the United States "to lend its support" to the efforts to resolve the Kashmir dispute, calling it "the root of tension in South Asia," Pakistan's foreign ministry said Wednesday.

The Himalayan (search) region is divided between India and Pakistan by a cease-fire line but both nations claim it in its entirety.

Hadley also met with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri and Tariq Aziz, secretary of the National Security Council.

Pakistan was Hadley's final stop on an Asian trip that included visits to Turkey and Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, Hadley told reporters that President Bush plans to visit South Asia next year and hold talks with Musharraf.

He also called for more cooperation between Islamabad, Kabul and Washington in the war on terror in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has deployed about 80,000 troops near Afghanistan to capture Al Qaeda linked militants, but has failed to capture Usama bin Laden, who is believed to be hiding in the rugged border region.