But USCIRF, at whose recommendation the State Department had revoked Modi's visa in 2005 for his alleged complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots, on Thursday described, Modi's statement on religious freedom as a "positive development".
"This statement is notable given longstanding allegations that, as chief minister of Gujarat in 2002, Modi was complicit in anti-Muslim riots in that state," it said referring to his remarks at an event honouring Indian Catholic saints in mid-February.
Modi's visa was revoked under a provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act that makes any foreign government official who "was responsible for or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom" ineligible for a US visa.
"Prime Minister Modi remains the only person known to have been denied a visa based on this provision," USCIRF noted.
USCIRF also referred to President Barack Obama's remarks on India's religious freedom issues during his January visit to India and again in February at the US National Prayer Breakfast that caused an uproar in India. Obama, it recalled "underscored the importance of religious freedom to India's success, urging the country to not be asplintered along the lines of religious faith".
The president described India as a "beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity - but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other people of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs - acts of intolerance that would have shocked (Mahatma) Gandhi ji, the person who helped to liberate that nation," USCIRF noted.
Key Findings of the commission:
* Despite the country's status as a pluralistic, secular democracy, India has long struggled to protect minority religious communities or provide justice when crimes occur, which perpetuates a climate of impunity.
* Incidents of religiously-motivated and communal violence reportedly have increased for three consecutive years.
* States of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Odisha, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan tend to have the greatest number of religiously-motivated attacks and communal violence incidents.
* Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and religious leaders, including from the Muslim, Christian, and Sikh communities, attributed the initial increase to religiously-divisive campaigning in advance of the country's 2014 general election.
* Christian NGOs and leaders report that their community is particularly at risk in states that have adopted "Freedom of Religion Act(s)", commonly referred to as anti-conversion laws.
* There are reports that some evangelical groups use tactics that are unethical and insulting to Hinduism and Hindus, which exacerbate religious and communal tensions.
"Based on these concerns, USCIRF again places India on its Tier 2 list of countries, where it has been since 2009," the report said.