Modi, who was overwhelmingly elected in May, accepted a U.S. invitation and will visit Washington later this year. In 2005 his visa request to enter the United States was declined under a 1998 law excluding foreigners who committed "particularly severe violations of religious freedom."
Modi was implicated in 2002, as new chief minister of India's western Gujarat state, in sectarian violence in which over 1,000 people, primarily Muslims, were killed. He was accused of encouraging rioters, or at least refusing to help stop the rioting. A court ruled in 2010 there was insufficient evidence to arrest him.
His election campaign reinforced the need to stimulate India's economy, and analysts believe Modi will seek improved commercial ties around the world, including the United States.
"The U.S. has been working hard trying to woo India (since Modi's election) so they've clearly understood there is a new game in town," Manoj Joshi, a security analyst at New Delhi's Observer Research Foundation tells British newspaper The Guardian. The Chinese have also been very active."
A statement by the Indian government said Modi expects "a result-oriented visit with concrete outcomes that imparts new momentum and energy to India-U.S. strategic partnership."