NEW DELHI: 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, reports AFP.
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.”
Science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan has been given the vacant environment portfolio, the president’s office confirmed in a statement.
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.