Although Asia and emerging markets in general are popular with investors, the extent to which India is featuring on the radar screen may be surprising.

Demand for India exposure was highlighted in a recent survey of buy-side participants conducted by AsianInvestor and law firm Clifford Chance.

"Which countries and territories will be the most popular destinations for investment in the next 12 months?" we asked, with respondents allowed to choose up to three answers.

China and Asia ex-Japan were clear favourites (cited by 68% and 62% of respondents, respectively). The US and India tied for the silver, at 39% and 38%, respectively.

However, this year's responses show a modest decline over last year's for China and Asia ex-Japan and a more severe drop for the US. But India ranks higher this year, from 27% to 38%.

This year, the questionnaire included the category 'Asia including Japan', which didn't exist in 2009. This broader category attracted 27% of the total vote and reflects an even broader interest in the region, says Mark Shipman, a partner in the funds division at Clifford Chance. It inevitably, therefore, took away some votes from Asia ex-Japan and China.

The true message from responses to this question, though, is that "India's the mover", says Shipman. Some fund managers, among them ICICI Prudential, seem to be positioning themselves with this outlook in mind.

Meanwhile, Europe, the Middle East and Korea appear to have lost favour, while Japan remains static. Throw in the support for 'Asia including Japan', and this suggests a possible rising interest in that market, but that we cannot derive a decisive conclusion from this.

The full survey results will appear in the May edition of AsianInvestor magazine.