The Sun Never Sets on the Indian Empire
The phrase "The Sun Never Sets On The Indian Empire" is a reference to the historical vastness of the European Colonial Empires which, by the end of the time period covered in Europe Universalis 4, controlled vast overseas territory all around the world, including in India. Originally said of the Spanish, but now more commonly associated with the British Empire, due to its far-flung size and influence, it was commented that there must always be a part of the Empire, where somewhere in the world it was daytime. The name of the achievement reflects the fact that it requires an Indian formable nation to own four important locations that were historically controlled by Great Britain.
Choosing the starting nation and religion
To achieve the Sun Never Sets on the Indian Empire achievement, the player has to opt for a nation able to form Hindustan or Bharat. Any of the Muslim or Hindu nations in the Western Aryan, Eastern Aryan, Hindustani, Central Indian, or Dravidian culture groups are eligible for the achievement. However, due to the achievement requiring both colonization and protracted war against one (or more) European powers, the player may wish to choose nations that make this task easier.
The nation of Vijayanagar is the richest of all nations in the Indian subcontinent at game start, at 32 provinces and 266 development. As well, this nation has coast access and several small neighbors available to annex. Vijayanagar is a Hindu nation and so can form Bharat, but this factor can also make it difficult to find allies in the early game, when the player is still trying to obtain the necessary provinces for Bharat.
Bengal is a strong Sunni nation with initial coast access and starts with control of the rich Bengal trade node. In addition to being eligible to form Hindustan, being Sunni will allow the player to more easily make alliances with other Sunni nations, both locally and abroad. In particular, an alliance with the Ottomans may prove invaluable in assisting the player with fighting Great Britain in the late game. Bengal also has a nation-specific achievement, Bengal Tiger, that more advanced players can try to achieve concurrently with The Sun Never Sets on the Indian Empire.
For a more challenging start, a player can try Malwa or Orissa, which are both smaller nations with excellent starting rulers, allowing the player to gain a tech advantage. Doing the achievement run with Orissa can also be combined with their country-specific achievement Foremost Servitor of Jagannath.
After obtaining the "The Buddhists strike back" achievement Ceylon can also safely form Bharat and go for this achievement as well.
If the player wishes a truly formidable experience, the one-province minor nation of Nagaur has a nation-specific achievement, Raja of the Rajput Reich, that is considered one of the most difficult in the entire game. Since both achievements require expansion into Europe, an expert player can attempt to combine the two.
There are two standard methods to achieve the Sun Never Sets on the Indian Empire achievement.
Firstly, the player can attempt to seize control of India in order to develop the military and economic power of their chosen nation, and leave the required overseas provinces in North America (Ottawa), Europe (London), Africa (The Cape) and China (Canton) for later in the game. This strategy is especially relevant when playing as Bengal to achieve the Bengal Tiger achievement.
Another strategy is to focus on early colonization in order to peacefully own and core Ottawa and The Cape, while strengthening the nation for the unavoidable war with Great Britain and Ming. It is a very relevant strategy for players starting as Orissa and willing to also achieve the Foremost Servitor of Jagannath achievement.
As this strategy depends on early control of overseas territory, the player must opt for the Exploration Idea Group as the first idea group chosen. This choice also allows the player to save administrative and military monarch points, which in turn allows the player to easily core conquered/colonised provinces while keeping up with military technology. In general, the Native Policy Coexistence is recommended as the player will likely require their military forces at home.
Picking Exploration first allows the player to achieve several important goals quickly. Firstly, by colonizing to the southwest, the player will likely reach the province of Cape (1177) before the European powers do, fulfilling one of the achievement requirements without bloodshed, and extending colonial range towards the New World. By island-hopping even further west, across Brazil and the east coast of North America, the player can potentially reach modern-day Canada and reach Kichesipi (2585) first as well, saving the player another war with European powers.
Secondly, the player can use colonization to obtain rich local provinces, particularly in Indonesia, that can substantially boost the income generation of the nation, as well as gain coring range to the Canton province (667).
Finally, by colonizing a province bordering a western colonial nation or European-owned province that is not in a Trade Company, the player will be able to speed up institutions spread if relations are kept positive. This will allow the player to both keep pace with Great Britain, whom the player will most likely need to defeat and invade to obtain London (236), but will give, over time, a decisive technology advantage over the local Indian nations, allowing easy domestic expansion.
One downside to the colonization strategy is that the player may have more difficulty expanding in India. The provinces required to form Bharat or Hindustan can span a wide area, depending on the nation's culture group, and as the game proceeds, most small nations in India tend to be annexed quickly. By 1600, large portions of India can be absorbed by one or two powerful nations, sometimes even allied to each other. This can make capturing the necessary provinces much more difficult the later in the game it gets.
This strategy depends on securing an initial lead in the Indian subcontinent before expanding overseas. To do this effectively, the player will usually select a religion-focused Administrative idea.
Hindu nations such as Vijayanagar can effectively obtain a Casus Belli on nearly every bordering nation using the Deus Vult idea from the Religious idea group; this Casus Belli also allows the seizure of unclaimed provinces without a cost in Diplomatic power. This idea group will also provide the bonus missionary strength needed to covert Sunni or Shia lands in a timely fashion. In contrast, most Muslim nations in India receive bonuses to Religious Unity and Tolerance of Heathens in their National Traditions and early National Ideas, due to the sheer amount of Hindu provinces in India. Taking Humanist ideas as well can almost completely eliminate unrest in conquered territory.
Due to the cost in Administrative power to fill out these idea groups, many players will choose to create vassals from conquered territory, in order to use Diplomatic Power integrating these vassals at a later time. Due to the number of small nations in India, finding an appropriate vassal should not be an issue.
Even when following this strategy, taking the Exploration idea group at some point will still be required, in order to remove Terra Incognita and extend the nation's coring range into Europe and China.
Conquering territory in India early in the game, while the area is still fragmented, can result in a much stronger player nation, due to the relative wealth of Indian provinces. However, delaying overseas colonization will mean that the player will potentially have to fight European powers for Kichesipi and Cape.
For information and advice on forming Bharat or Hindustan, please see the associated country pages. Outside of these, four overseas provinces are necessary to complete the achievement. Keep in mind that these provinces can be owned by any subject nation, such as a vassal or in the case of Kichesipi, a colonial nation or protectorate.
In many cases, the player may easily obtain this province by colonization. However, this province contains an Important Center of Trade and as such will be prioritized by the European colonizer nations ( Spain, Portugal, France, Great Britain and Netherlands). If the province has been seized before the player can get to it, it is recommended that the player colonize nearby in order to fabricate a claim. With luck and a strong, up-to-date navy, the player can declare war for the Conquest of Cape, occupy it immediately, and simply destroy any fleet that attempts to land troops. Even if the Imperialism Casus Belli is available, the player should still use Conquest, as they will gain ticking warscore for holding Cape, as opposed to having to invade the European mainland and seize a capital. If the owner of Cape is Great Britain, the conquest of Cape can be delayed until the player is ready to seize London as well.
This province is initially controlled by Ming, and how easy it is to take is determined by the state of the Ming Empire. It is difficult to defeat Ming while it has 100 Mandate; however, Ming will suffer more land damage if the Mandate of Ming is below 50, so the player can win a war easier by decreasing the Mandate to 0.
By declaring war on Tributary states' allies or threatening war, the player can border the Ming Empire without fighting Ming. Then, form alliances with large tributary nations bordering Ming such as Korea before Ming declare a war. This will cause Ming to lose Tributary states. In the peace treaty, make one one of your allies a Tributary again to avoid an exhausting war, and wait for the Mandate to drop during the truce. In no more than 30 years, Ming should have very little Mandate. Now win a war and take Canton.
One issue with controlling Kichesipi is that the province is inland. Quickest route is by first colonizing Etchemins (2583) (beside the St Lawrence Estuary) and then Loup (2584). However, due to its location in modern-day Canada, Kichesipi is often controlled by a British or French Colonial Nation. One option for the player is Support the Independence of the Colonial Nation in question, win the war, and then declare war on the newly-independent nation at a later time. Doing this may make the war against the European overlord easier to win, depending on which other nations supported the Canadian colonial nation with their fight.
With proper timing or powerful allies, the player may be able to simply win a Colonialism CB war against the European colonizer and its subject nations, seizing the necessary provinces in the peace deal. The Colonialism CB is obtained by having a colony in an adjacent province to an in-progress colony owned by the enemy nation or their subject nation; full provinces do not count.
In a few cases, Kichesipi may be owned by Huron or another North American primitive nation. In this case, the nation can either be conquered or vassalized. if Kichesipi is owned by a Colonial Nation whose overlord is Great Britain, the player may choose to delay the war until they are ready to seize London as well.
It is likely that London will be the most difficult province for the player to take, as it is the capital province of Great Britain, a powerful European nation with strong naval ideas in its National Idea group. In addition, Great Britain is likely to have a host of Colonial Nations which may cause problems for the player.
This objective is best left until last for a couple of reasons; firstly, it is very likely that the player will have to wait until Diplomatic Technology 23, in order to obtain the Imperialism Casus Belli, Secondly, the player will need to have gained Coring Range to London in some fashion, in order to seize the province directly. This can be difficult to do until late in the game, either by stacking modifiers to Colonial Range via Exploration ideas, certain national Policies, and the Navigator Advisor, or by seizing land from other nations in a long chain around Africa or by going through the Red Sea and Suez.
Defeating Great Britain at sea can be a daunting task for any player, and is best accomplished by taking Naval ideas and some of the related policies as well as having significant numbers of Heavy Ships. In addition, an ally of some sort in Europe needs to be obtained, but a strong navy is not necessarily the deciding factor; instead, the player should look for an ally that has provinces off the coast of Great Britain. Since player-controlled armies stationed in ally nations do not become exiled upon a starting a war, even if the ally refuses to join the war in question, the player can transport troops from India to a nation such as Brittany or Flanders before the war begins and so avoid having to travel the extreme distances from India to Europe while the war is underway. Of course, a powerful military ally such as France, Ottomans or Spain, should be welcomed if available.
If any other nation still controls provinces with land access to the British Isles, such as one of the Irish minor nations, Scotland, a released Wales or Cornwall, or even Norway, they should be attacked by the player first to create a staging area. In this way, the player may still be able to invade Great Britain, even without being able to defeat their powerful navy. Beware that even on land, Great Britain's National Ideas provide +5% Discipline and their economic power is likely to be high, providing plenty of ducats for Mercenaries.
Another option could be attacking a weak ally in Africa or Asia calling Great Britain into a war where the player can gain warscore quickly and easily and without interference of the British colonies or allies. If the player manages to obtain naval superiority, an elegant way to win time to siege London would be to lure the British land forces into battles in Ireland and lock them there by blocking the strait between Ulster and Ayrshire. Try to gain control of the latter by surprise to make the blocking work.