By Alasdair Pal
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India said on Wednesday the first summit of the leaders of the so-called Quad framework will take place virtually on March 12.
The leaders of India, Australia, Japan and the United States will address "regional and global issues of shared interest, and exchange views on practical areas of cooperation towards maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region," a statement by India's foreign ministry said.
The summit will also cover supply chains, emerging and critical technologies, maritime security, and climate change, the statement added.
The United States is looking to strengthen ties with key allies as China takes an increasingly assertive foreign policy approach in the Indo-Pacific region and elsewhere in the world.
India, meanwhile, has already urged the other Quad members to invest in its vaccine production capacity, in an attempt to counter China's widening vaccine diplomacy.
Quad leaders will also discuss ongoing efforts to combat the pandemic and explore "opportunities for collaboration in ensuring safe, equitable and affordable vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region," the statement added.
(Reporting by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Mark Heinrich)