Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday offered to install a life-size statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh warrior who ruled the first Sikh kingdom, at Saint-Tropez in France, the birth place of his General Jean-Francois Allard.
Badal gave this assurance during a meeting with deputy mayor of Saint Tropez, Henri Allard, the direct descendant of Gen Allard, here.
Henri Allard informed Badal that they intended to install the statue in Saint Tropez as a mark of respect to the great king of the first Sikh empire. He told the CM that Gen Allard (French), along with Gen Ventura (Italian), served in the army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and both made an enormous contribution for the modernisation of his military through their strategic experience and raised Fauj-i-Khas, the "special" or "royal" brigade.
He said the installation of the statue at Saint Tropez would go a long way in further fostering the bonds of goodwill, bonhomie and friendship between the people of France and Punjab.
Claude Maniscalco, director, Saint-Tropez Tourism, informed Badal that Saint-Tropez was a prominent tourist destination visited by around 6.5 million tourists every year.
Meanwhile, the chief minister said it would be an honour for Punjab to get a white-marbled statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and accepted the invitation to unveil the statue on its inauguration ceremony at Saint-Tropez.