Henri Allard, deputy mayor of Saint-Tropez coastal town in France and direct descendent of French general Jean-Frankois Allard who served in the army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, on Monday visited the site here where the Sikh empire founder had met British governor general Lord William Bentinck for the historic treaty of October 26, 1831.
Accompanied by his wife, Joisnne, and Young Farmers Association president Jagdeep Singh Cheema, Allard said he was pleased to be at the place and proud that one of his forefathers had been a general in the army of and legendary warrior who had built the first Sikh empire. "In France, we intend to install the statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Saint-Tropez, birthplace of his general, as a mark of respect to the great king," he added.
General Allard, along with Italian generan Ventura had contributed to the modernisation of the Maharaja's Khalsa military and raising of Fauj-i-Khas, the "elite brigade". The French deputy mayor said his meeting with Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had been fruitful and he had invited the CM to unveil the statue in France. "There is a big scope of cooperation between Rupnagar and Saint-Tropez, both rich in history," Allard suggested.
Earlier, his wife and he received a warm welcome on arriving here. Municipal council president Paramjit Singh Makkar; former Rotary International district governor Dr RS Parmar; Punjab and Sind Bank manager Inderpal Singh Chadha; municipal council executive officer Manjinder Singh; and municipal councillor Gurmukh Singh Saini were present.
Later, Allard also paid obeisance at Takht Keshgarh Sahib, one of the five Sikh temporal seats, in Anandpur Sahib.