his third straight pole at Buddh International Circuit. The German has won both previous Indian GP races, leading every lap.
Nico Rosberg will share the front of the grid after finishing second in Saturday's qualifying, with fellow Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton third and Red Bull's Mark Webber fourth.
"It's a very good result for the team with Mark sitting in fourth behind those guys," Vettel said.
Red Bull can also make it the fourth straight double of drivers' and constructors' titles if Ferrari fails to outscore it by more than 19 points.
Felipe Massa starts from fifth, while Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso could only manage eighth.
Romain Grosjean, who was expected to challenge for the podium, was eliminated in the first round of qualifying after Lotus' gamble on sticking with medium tires backfired. The Frenchman will start from 17th on the grid.
"We just missed the cut-off time, everyone went quicker than we thought," Grosjean said. "Today, for some reason, the medium (tires) were not quick enough. It's a decision we took together, we were confident we could do enough with them but we got it wrong."
Force India failed to qualify in the top 10 for its home race, with Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil eliminated in the second round in 12 and 13th respectively.
Vettel and Webber chose differing tire strategies for qualifying, with Vettel electing to use the quicker but fragile soft compound for the third round and race start and Webber preferring the medium compound.
1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull - Renault
2. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes
3. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes
4. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault
5. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari
6. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus - Renault
7. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari
8. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari
9. Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren
10. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren
11. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso - Ferrari
12. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India - Mercedes
13. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India - Mercedes
14. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - Ferrari
15. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams - Renault
16. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari
17. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault
18. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams - Renault
19. Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia - Cosworth
20. Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) Caterham - Renault
21. Charles Pic (France) Caterham - Renault
22. Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia - Cosworth