MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the comments reflect a 'severe lack of understanding' of India and its constitutional framework, its plurality and its democratic ethos.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the observation of India in the report is based on 'motivated inputs and biased views'.
US panel recommends India as 'Country of Particular Concern', says religious freedom worsens 'significantly'
Other countries recommended for this designation by the USCIRF in its annual report are Burma, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.
Motivated comments on India's internal issues not welcome: Ministry of External Affairs on Hijab row
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that those who know India well would have a proper appreciation of the realities.
Religious freedom is the hallmark of pluralism. While legitimate restrictions are to be accepted, irrational intrusion into religious notions should be averted.
Refuting Blinken's comments, Zhao said the US should do soul searching and stop using religious issues to interfere in other countries.
The US' constitution and laws guarantee Americans the right not just to believe as they see fit, but to freely exercise their religion, he said.