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India's environment minister dies at 60

NEW DELHI, May 18, 2017 (BSS/AFP) - India's environment minister Anil Madhav Dave died Thursday at the age of 60 in New Delhi, shocking colleagues who remembered him as a nature lover committed to conservation.

Dave complained of discomfort in the morning and was rushed from his home to the state-run All India Institute of Medical Sciences where he passed away.

The Bharatiya Janata Party to which he belonged confirmed Dave's passing in a brief statement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his shock at his colleague's sudden death, describing it as a "personal loss".

"I was with Anil Madhav Dave ji till late last evening, discussing key policy issues," Modi tweeted.

"Anil Madhav Dave ji will be remembered as a devoted public servant. He was tremendously passionate towards conserving the environment."

Other colleagues remembered Dave as a passionate conservationist who spearheaded a campaign to protect India's Narmada river running through his home state of Madhya Pradesh.

Dave, who was unmarried, had been a member of parliament's upper house since 2009.

His death comes amid concern that US President Donald Trump could water down or abandon a global pact on climate change to which India, a major polluter, is a key signatory.

India, the world's third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, formally signed the Paris agreement last October.