India is one of the world's most ancient civilizations that has existed for millennia, and Medieval India was also influenced by the introduction of Islam. Indian armies historically depended on elephants, so to depict this, they have the Elephant Archer as a unique unit. The northern part of Medieval India also introduced camels as a vital part of their military force, so they also have a unique upgrade to the Heavy Camel, the Imperial Camel, while their team bonus also provides Camels with an attack bonus against buildings, and their own Camels also have more armor. India in the Middle Ages was a highly advanced civilization that learned the secrets of gunpowder from the Chinese and the Saracens, so to reflect this, their Hand Cannoneers are stronger than other civilizations' because of their Imperial unique technology, Shatagni, which increases their range by one. Indian kingdoms were very wealthy and their Castle Age unique technology, Sultans, reflects this by increasing all their gold income by 10%, including Relics and trade income. Fishing was an important part of the Indian economy, so their Fishermen work faster and carry more food. Thanks to their steady population growth over the centuries, Indian Villagers get cheaper as the civilization advances through the Ages.
When playing a random map game against the computer, the player may encounter any of the following Indian AI characters:
Akbar: Popularly known as Akbar I and later Akbar the Great, was the third Mughal emperor, who reigned from 1556 to 1605.
Babur: Born Ẓahīr-ud-Dīn Muhammad, was an invader from Central Asia who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the base for the Mughal dynasty in the Indian subcontinent and became the first Mughal emperor.
Bappa Rawal: A semi-legendary ruler of the Mewar region in Rajasthan, India. The bardic chronicles describe him as a member of the Guhila clan of Rajputs, and some of these describe as the founder of his dynasty. Several historians have identified him with Kalabhoja, a ruler of the Mewar branch of the Guhilas.
Humayun: The second emperor of the Mughal Empire, who ruled over territory in what is now Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of northern India from 1531–1540 and again from 1555–1556.
Iltutmish: The third ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, belonging to the Mamluk dynasty. Iltutmish consolidated the position of the sultanate in the Indian subcontinent.
Man Singh I: The Rajput Raja of Amber, a state later known as Jaipur in Rajputana. He was a trusted general of the Mughal emperor Akbar, who included him among the Navaratnas, or the nine gems of the royal court.
Sultan Balban: Ghiyas ud din Balban, the ninth sultan of the Mamluk dynasty reigned 1266–1287 dynasty of Delhi.
Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji: The second and the most powerful ruler of the Khalji dynasty of Delhi Sultanate in the Indian subcontinent.
The bottom middle of Indians player's navigation bar shows the image of a lion in front of sun. The image is based from the flag of Mughal Empire.
The Indians are both the first civilization to officially change their architecture design to a different style in a later update and are currently the only civilization in Age of Empires II to have a unique architecture set only used by a single civilization. Previously, the Italians' Mediterranean design was unique to only themselves prior to the release of African Kingdoms and the inclusion of the Portuguese.
The new Indian Architecture was designed by modder "Tzontlimixtli", who worked with Forgotten Empires during the development of Rise of the Rajas.
Prior to the release of Rise of the Rajas and during the release of The African Kingdoms and patch 4.4, an "Official Mod" of an earlier version of Tzontlimixli's Indian architecture was released on the steam workshop by Tzontlimixli and "Cysion" of Forgotten Empires. The Indians were also given duplicate versions of the Middle Eastern design, separate from the remaining civilizations that used it, for the sole purpose of using the modded version. The older version can still be found on the Steam Workshop.
Except for Native American civilizations, the Indians are the only civilization in Age of Empires II that do not have access to units from the Knight line. Instead, they have the Imperial Camel.
During the development of The Conquerors, the region of India (along with Africa and pre-Columbian America) was considered to appear as the new architecture set; which theoretically means that at least two Indian-based civilizations can appear at the new game. But the plan was never materialized because the Ensemble Studios team preferred to add pre-Columbian America as the new architecture set.
When the Forgotten Empires team were working on the Forgotten Empires mod (which eventually became The Forgotten expansion), they initially planned to add the Tibetans as one of the new civilizations. But the Tibetans were eventually replaced by the more military-oriented Indians. Although it is never officially explained, it can be speculated that the Tibetans were removed because the official titles would face the risk of being banned in mainland China.