Japan and India have signed a military pact enabling them to exchange supplies and logistical support, the Japanese government said Thursday, as part of efforts to step up security cooperation in the face of China's growing assertiveness.

The countries had intended to sign the acquisition and cross-servicing agreement, or ACSA, last December during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's scheduled visit to Guwahati in eastern India. But, the trip was canceled after violent protests broke out in the city over a controversial immigration law.

In a phone call on Thursday, Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi agreed on the importance of their countries' close security and economic cooperation, and sharing the view that the signing of the pact the previous day will help realize a free and open Indo-Pacific region, the Japanese government said.