Don’t look now, Nokia! Things might be about to get a little worse for the Finnish handset maker with trouble brewing in one of its key markets, India. According to Samsung executives, quoted by Economic Times, the Korean firm is set to leapfrog Nokia to take the top spot in the country’s smartphone market.

Research from analytics firm GfK Asia suggested that Samsung may even already top the list, thanks to a 32.3 percent share of the smartphone market, but Ranjit Yadav, head of Samsung India’s mobile and IT business units, is confident that the pendulum will swing next year, if it hasn’t already:

Part of the battle is already won; we will become number one next year.

However, a statement from Nokia has refuted the claims:

Based on the figures from all third-party analysts, Nokia leads all India smartphone market both in volume and value terms.

While Samsung may, or may not, be leading the smartphone race in India — statistics can be measured in different ways, giving differing results — there is little doubt that Nokia remains the king of the overall mobile market in the country. This leadership is more significant at this stage, as smartphones remain a small but high yielding niche of the total market. QED smartphone devices account for just 6 percent of all phones in India, according to the Economic Times article.

In the event that Nokia does lose its lead to Samsung, the company is confident that the change in order will not last long, as its latest devices — supporting Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system — have been developed with India, and other emerging markets, in mind.

The Lumia 710Lumia 800 and four ‘affordable’ Asha devices — the latter of which could have a huge impact across the world — are targeting “the next billion”, according to Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, and India is very much at the centre of the company’s plans.

The phones are already available in the country and Nokia has publicly admitted that it is targeting a 50 percent overall mobile market share in India by the end of 2012.

Apple continues to struggle to gain traction in India, where the high upfront cost required to purchase an iPhone makes it out of reach for many, leavings the door open to mid- and low-range handset makers with their eye on increasing smartphone ownership, and usage, across the 1 billion plus population.

While the signs pointing to Samsung taking over at the top of the smartphone ranking, it remains to be seen whether Nokia’s Window Phone line-up will see it return to the top in one of its most significant markets.