Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman agreed Monday to start talks on a bilateral acquisition and cross-servicing agreement.

The two nations will seek to counter China's growing influence in South Asia through an agreement known as an ACSA, which allows them to share defense capabilities and supplies including fuel and ammunition.

During talks in New Delhi, they also confirmed steady progress in preparing for the first joint exercise of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force and the Indian Army, set for this autumn.