Twenty-five years ago, the International Monetary Fund forced the wrong medicine down the throat of East Asian economies facing a foreign exchange shortage. Countries like Indonesia convulsed into near-collapse. Bitter lesson learnt, regional players said “never again” and have since accumulated mountains of foreign exchange reserves. Three decades earlier, US President Lyndon Johnson weaponised wheat supplies to a famine-stricken India because, despite being a supplicant, New Delhi had the temerity to criticise US actions in Vietnam. “Never again,” said Indira Gandhi as India pushed ahead with the Green Revolution and began the pile-up of grain that is now as much in excess as the Reserve Bank’s dollar hoard.
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