INDIAN Church leaders met representatives of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and the Pontifical Mission Societies on April 26 to discuss further ways of working together.
The meeting in London followed a successful conference on Dal it Christian rights earlier this week, organised by the British charity Voice of Dalit International.
Archbishop Marampudi Joji of Hyderabad called for further co-operation, solidarity and support from the Bishops of England and Wales for the oppressed Christian minorities in India. Over 16 million Dalits are Christian, making up 2.4 per cent of India's population.
Mgr Andrew Summersgill , general secretary of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, said: "It was a very cordial and informative meeting, and the Department of International Affairs will take up some of the matters raised."
Fr John Dale, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies for England and Wales. said the meeting was taking place at a providential time as primary school pupils would be learning about Dalit Catholics this week as part of their religious education syllabus.
"There is a long-standing relationship between England and Wales and India. Last year we gave subsidies of $2m for 20 dioceses and a further $350,000 after the tsunami," said Fr Dale. "We are proud of our relationship and long may it continue."