NEW DELHI: India and Australia on Tuesday said they were looking forward to convening a 2+2 dialogue—between their foreign and defence ministers—at the earliest as the two countries reviewed their security ties amid the global pandemic.

An Indian defence ministry statement said that defence minister Rajnath Singh reviewed ties during a telephonic conversation with his Australian counterpart Peter Dutton.

“Both ministers acknowledged the momentum that defence cooperation between India and Australia has achieved following the upgradation of the partnership to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in June 2020," it said.

“The participation of Australia in Exercise Malabar has been an important milestone in this enhanced partnership," the statement said referring to Australia joining the navies of India, the US and Japan in exercises for the first time last year. India, Australia, the US and Japan are members of the group known as the Quad who have come together on a common platform against the backdrop of the rise of a belligerent China. During a virtual summit between the prime ministers of India and Australia last year, ties were elevated to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership" and the two countries signed a logistics support agreement.

The “2+2" dialogue between the foreign and defence ministers is a unique framework that New Delhi has instituted for talks with select partners—the US, Japan and Australia.

“Both ministers expressed satisfaction at the growing defence ties between the two countries. Both sides reviewed the progress on various bilateral defence cooperation initiatives and expressed commitment to further elevate engagements between the armed forces. During the dialogue, both ministers expressed their intent to convene the 2+2 ministerial dialogue at the earliest," the statement added.