An alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), he began his career as a journalist with the Press Trust of India (PTI). From 1985 to 1987, he was deputed by PTI to the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA). In 1995, he moved to Business India's Television Channel - TVI - as the News Coordinator for International Affairs, after 15 years in PTI culminating with a three-year posting to Moscow as the Bureau Chief. He rose to head the channel by 1998. He left TVI in 1999 to join "Brandquiver Dotcom" as its content head. Subsequently he was a freelance journalist and documentary film producer.
Several channels have aired documentary films produced by Nandan. His articles, primarily on international affairs, have appeared in many Indian publications. During his tenure with Observer Research Foundation, Nandan has participated in several National and International conferences, lectured in various academic and specialized institutions in India and abroad.
Presently Nandan is the Vice President in ORF's Centre for International Relations. He looks after the U.S. Studies Programme and the Eurasian Studies Programme.