Drought is a major abiotic stress that drastically reduces chickpea yields. The present study was aimed to identify drought-responsive traits in chickpea by screening a recombinant inbred line population derived from an inter-specific cross between drought cultivar of GPF2 (C. arietinum L.) and drought sensitive accession of ILWC292 (C. reticulatum), at two locations in India. Twenty-one traits, including twelve morphological and physiological traits and nine root-related traits were measured under rainfed (drought-stress) and irrigated conditions (no-stress). High genotypic variation was observed among RILs for yield and root traits indicated that selection in these germplasms would be useful in achieving genetic progress. Both correlation and principal component analysis revealed that plant height, number of pods per plant, biomass, 100-seed weight, harvest index, membrane permeability index, and relative leaf water content were significantly correlated with yield under both irrigated and drought stress environments. Root length had significant positive correlations with all root-related traits except root length density in drought-stressed plants. Path analysis and multiple and stepwise regression analyses showed that number of pods per plant, biomass, and harvest index were major contributors to yield under drought stress conditions. Thus, a holistic approach across these analyses identified number of pods per plant, biomass, harvest index, and root length as key traits for improving chickpea yield through indirect selection for developing drought-tolerant cultivars. Overall, on the basis of yield components morphological and root traits, a total of 15 promising RILs were identified for their use in chickpea breeding programs for developing drought tolerant cultivars.