Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee has begun meeting with world leaders on the fringes of the ongoing UN General Assembly session, including US President George W Bush and Secretary General of NATO Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.
Mukherjee, who is leading the Indian delegation, arrived in New York on Tuesday afternoon mainly to attend the UN session. The meetings with key leaders began on Wednesday.
New Delhi is keen on setting up an international mechanism to fight terrorism and Mukherjee's parleys with various leaders would take this aspect into consideration, sources said.
In the half-hour meeting, both Mukherjee and Scheffer discussed global issues, with special focus on West Asia.
Mukherjee met President of Croatia Stjepan Mesic and discussed current issues and the potential role Croatia could play if it wants to be the gateway to Europe.
In the afternoon on Wednesday, senior Indian minister took part in a meeting of the group of nations—Brazil, Russia, China and India.
The meeting was convened by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his counterparts from Brazil and China.
"The meeting provided an opportunity for discussions on issues including the ongoing logjam in the negotiations at the World Trade Organisation and issues relating to energy conservation and energy from renewable sources," a statement issued by the Permanent Mission of India said. "The leaders agreed that such meetings, in an open-ended format, would form a useful method for coordinating positions in the future."
Later, the Defence Minister met KP Sharma Oli, Deputy Prime Minister and foreign minister of Nepal, and also held meetings with others.
Reiterating New Delhi's support to Kathmandu, Mukherjee said the current dialogue between government representatives and the rebels should be strengthened.
Bilateral issues figured in the defence minister's meetings with Greek foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis. The possibility of cooperation between the two countries in reviving renewable energy sources was also mulled.
on Wednesday night, the minister attended a reception organised by President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana in honour of the outgoing Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is a Ghanaian.
The other reception for Mukherjee was held by President of the 61st General Assembly Sheikha Hayat Rashed al-Khalifa.