South Asian countries whose economies are among the hardest hit by the Persian Gulf crisis are concerned that they may be overlooked as wealthy Arab and Western nations direct billions of dollars of crisis-related aid to pro-Western Middle East states, Asian diplomats said this week.

Estimates released this week indicate that the crisis will cost India as much as $4 billion in lost income and trade in 1991, and Bangladesh up to $3.5 billion. Pakistan has put "short-term" losses from the crisis at $1.1 billion, although it did not specify what period that estimate covered.

Sri Lanka has offered no estimate of its projected losses, but Asian diplomats said it is certain to be among the most severely hurt because its small economy must forgo one-eighth of its export earnings from aborted tea sales to Kuwait and Iraq, plus the earnings of 100,000 of its citizens working there.

South Asia's economies have been tightly bound for years to those of the adjacent gulf region -- exporting large amounts of tea and other consumer goods, while importing gulf oil and supplying millions of workers as the main labor force of the gulf economies.

The U.S. campaign this month to generate economic aid for developing nations squeezed by the gulf crisis has won billions of dollars in commitments from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Japan and West Germany. The Bush administration has been seeking a total of $11.5 billion in such aid through next year, according to administration estimates.

But no donor nation has publicly recognized the distress the crisis has brought to the South Asian nations or offered direct assistance. In the U.S. fund-raising effort, "the only countries specifically mentioned {as recipients} are Turkey, Egypt and Jordan -- and Jordan is contingent on its application of the {U.N.} sanctions" against Iraq, said State Department official David Goode.

Noting that the billions of dollars promised so far are to be delivered bilaterally, Goode said: "Those countries that feel themselves hurting should make bilateral arrangements" for aid.

South Asian diplomats and others have expressed fears that the U.S.-led effort to help Turkey, Egypt and Jordan -- the so-called "front-line" states in the gulf confrontation -- will lead to a welter of uncoordinated, and therefore ineffectual, bilateral offers of aid.

The 12-nation European Community this week delayed a decision on providing about $2 billion in aid to Turkey, Egypt and Jordan in part "because of concerns over the matter of coordination," said Ella Krucoff, Washington spokeswoman for the EC. Krucoff said the EC had not discussed specifically any offer of aid to South Asia.

"In crises," one South Asian official lamented this week, "it's always the front-line states that get the attention and the money, and the others may be forgotten."

Some South Asian officials say they hope that some form of help can be arranged through the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The IMF offers special loans to countries that have lost export earnings or workers' remittances, although an IMF spokesman said this week that the fund could not begin considering specific loan applications before the start of next year.