The body of 24-year-old Cordingley was found in October 2018 by her father Troy in the sand dunes on Wangetti Beach, north of Cairns.
Rajwinder Singh, a nurse in Innisfail who boarded a plane to India days after her death, had been identified by police as the prime suspect in the case.
“We are so pleased to announce that the suspect in the murder of Toyah Cordingley has been arrested in India,” commissioner Katarina Carroll said.
“This day has been long,” she added.
The suspect was hiding in the Punjab region and will face trial in India before being extradited to Australia.
Commissioner Carroll described the years-long investigation as “intensive and comprehensive” and said it was a joint operation between local and international authorities.
Police Secretary Mark Ryan said, while the development was promising, “this is very early days in this next move to bring justice to Toyah”.
Federal Attorney General Mark Dreyfus issued a statement saying Singh’s extradition was a “high priority” for the Commonwealth.
“I can confirm that Rajwinder Singh was arrested in India today following Australia’s extradition request,” Dreyfus said.
Mr Singh is being prosecuted in Queensland in connection with the 2018 murder of Toyah Cordingley.
“This case is a high priority for the Australian Government and Australian agencies continue to work closely with Indian authorities to pursue the extradition of Mr Singh to Australia for trial.
“I acknowledge the work of the Queensland Police, Australian Federal Police, Attorney General and Indian authorities in this matter.”
Dreyfus said it would not be appropriate to comment further as the case is pending in the courts in India
In the four years since Cordingley’s death, her father Troy and 24-year-old mother Vanessa Gardiner have since launched calls to find the person who allegedly killed the “beautiful and spiritual” woman.
Australian authorities worked with the Indian government to secure an extradition warrant for Singh and traveled there to focus on getting an arrest.