In this file photo, U.S. Navy divers and Indian Navy divers (in gray shirts) practice "hot tap" salvage procedures aboard USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) during Salvage Exercise (SALVEX) 2011 in the Andaman Sea in January 2011. SALVEX 12 will be held off the coast of Hawaii Feb. 7-13. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Derek Peterson)

SAN DIEGO - U.S. Navy dive teams and the Indian navy will conduct a bilateral salvage exchange (SALVEX) off the coast of Hawaii Feb. 7-13.

Participating in the exercise are Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One, based in Hawaii, and USNS Sioux (T-ATF-171).

The purpose of SALVEX 12 is to enhance U.S. and Indian bilateral diving and salvage capability in the littoral environment to improve maritime security and humanitarian assistance/disaster response capability.

Sioux is one of Military Sealift Command's four Fleet Ocean Tugs providing towing, diving platform and other services to the Navy's numbered fleets and is part of the 14 ships in the Service Support Program.

The SALVEX's with the Indian navy began in 2005. The exercise is held periodically with each nation taking turns hosting. SALVEX 2009 was at Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One in Hawaii, while SALVEX 2011 was hosted by the Indian navy in Port Blair, India.

Joint interagency and international relationships strengthen U.S. Third Fleet's ability to respond to crises and protect the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners.