India and Japan hold inaugural security talks

India and Japan hold inaugural security talks
Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, second right, Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono, second left, Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar, right, and Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi pose for the media before the start of India Japan 2+2 talks, in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, to boost bilateral security and Defence cooperation between the two countries. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

NEW DELHI (AP) — India says ties with Japan are key to stability in the Indo-Pacific region as the two countries held inaugural security talks in New Delhi.

Saturday’s talks among the countries’ foreign and defense ministers focused on cooperation in building a free and open Indo-Pacific in view of China’s growing footprint in the region.

The talks took place following a decision by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, during a summit between the leaders last year.

Japan is only the second country after the U.S. with which India has used the so-called “two-plus-two” dialogue format, which brings the foreign and defense ministers together for talks.