The first regular contact between Ranjit Singh and the British seems to have been made in 1800.The occasion was when India was threatened by an invasion of Zaman Shah, the Afghan ruler who had been invited by Tipu Sultan a bitter enemy of the British. As a precautionary measure, the British sent Munshi Yusuf Ali to the court of Ranjit Singh with rich presents to win the Maharaja over the British side. Soon however he learnt that the danger of Zaman Shah’s invasion receded and Yusuf Ali was recalled.
The contact was made in 1805 when the Maratha chief Holkar entered Punjab for help him from Ranjit Singh. But he refused Holkar to help him against the British. In 1806 Ranjit Singh signed a treaty of friendship with General Lake agreeing to force Jaswant Rao Holkar to leave Amritsar. General Lake in turn promised that the English would never form any plans for the seizure of Ranjit Singh’s Possessions and property.As the danger of French invasion on India became remote the English adopted a stern policy towards Ranjit Singh. He was given a note of the Governor-General by Metcalfe.Ranjit Singh was asked to restore all the places, he has taken possession since 1806 to the former possessors which will confine his army right to the bank of Sutlej.Ranjit Singh was not ready to accept the demand. However he withdrew his troops from Ambala and Saniwal but continued to retain Faridkot.Ranjit Singh fortified the fort to Govindgarh.But in the last stage Ranjit Singh changed his mind and agreed to sign the Treaty of Amritsar in 1809.