Japan and India have agreed to bolster cooperation on security and economic issues, according to a joint statement Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his Indian counterpart signed Wednesday in New Delhi.

Noda and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy will conduct joint exercises next year to beef up maritime security in the Indian Ocean, and protect a major sea lane Japan uses to import crude oil from the Middle East, according to the statement.

Noda's trip to New Delhi is part of Japan's efforts to strengthen ties with India ahead of the 60th anniversary next year of the establishment of diplomatic ties and amid China's growing military and economic might in the region.