An Army spokesman said the troops had launched an anti-insurgency operation in Buchoo village in Tral area of Pulwama, following a tip off about presence of militants in the area.
"As the troops were laying the cordon around the village, the militants hiding in the nearby forest opened firing, resulting in death of the three jawans," the spokesman said.
He said additional security forces have been rushed to the area and a manhunt has been launched to track down the militants.
Further details of the operation were awaited. There were unconfirmed reports that the militants fled from the scene along with the service rifles of the slain jawans.